Moody’s Investors Service on Thursday placed the Ba1 general obligation bond rating of Woonsocket, R.I., on review for possible downgrade, affecting about $205 million of debt.
Last month Woonsocket’s School Department acknowledged a deficit of more than $2 million in its budget.
“While the city has undertaken meaningful steps to eliminate its accumulated deficit and stabilize its financial position through the issuance of deficit bonds, various expenditure cuts and large levy increases, continued deficits in school operations has put Woonsocket’s finances under considerable pressure,” Moody’s said in a news release.
Rhode Island revenue director Rosemary Booth Gallogly has said the state could place Woonsocket under fiscal oversight. Bankrupt Central Falls is under receivership and East Providence is under a budget review commission, the second step in the state intervention process for local Rhode Island governments in financial trouble.
Woonsocket, a city of 41,000 just south of the Massachusetts border, also continues to underfund its pension plan, although its 69.1% ratio — according to the state auditor general’s report in September — puts it in better position than that of other Rhode Island communities.
Central Falls, East Providence, Providence, North Providence, Warwick, West Warwick, Pawtucket and Coventry received downgrades from Moody’s last year.
In a report last month, Moody’s said Rhode Island municipalities face heightened credit pressure and possibly more ratings downgrades in 2012.